D.VICE Sex Q & A. Pelvic floor problems after giving birth - help!Posted by D.VICE Sexpert on
Dear D.VICE Advice,
My pelvic floor muscles are really loose after giving birth and my cervix seems to be sitting a long way down. My husband says he does not get much sensation from sex anymore and I don’t either. Is there anything I can do to fix it?
Pregnancy and childbrith weaken the pelvic floor muscles
Pregnancy and vaginal births commonly put pressure on a woman's pelvic floor muscles and up to 80% of women experience bladder weakness during and after pregnancy. The weight of your growing baby weakens the pelvic floor muscles and the Relaxin hormones released in preparation for childbirth soften the fascia in the pelvic floor and ligaments in the body. Giving birth stretches your cervix, vaginal canal and pelvic floor muscles beyond the imaginable, so it is no surprise that both you and your husband are experiencing loss of sensation – this is completely normal but still challenging to deal with.
A woman's sexual experience and even her genitals can change after giving birth
Many women notice that after childbirth there are some physical changes to the shape of their genitals, particularly their labia -they are often protrude more -and sexual responsiveness and even the type of orgasms can change. Your cervix sitting lower may be a consequence of your labour process and any damage can take up to 12 weeks to fully heal.
A pelvic organ prolapse or POP, which can include a prolapse of the uterus, bladder or rectum, or any combination of them, can also cause the cervix to sit low as the prolapsed organ pushes down onto it. There are various degrees of prolapse and these are not always identified correctly by your GP. A prolapse can result in the vagina not having much room as it sits more like a collapsed sock unable to balloon out during arousal.
Different sexual positions can help with a low cervix during intercourse
If you find that during intercourse your husband’s penis hits your cervix and is uncomfortable or painful, you can try different sexual positions where penetration is not as deep and talk with your husband about a longer build up to intercourse to ensure you are fully aroused before penetration. Using a good lubricant and a clitoral arousal gel can help with improving sensation and speeding up your arousal for you as well. Exploring other pleasurable options such as finger or oral play and also experimenting with vibrators can expand and enhance the sexual experience for both of you as you adapt to the changes of childbirth.
You may find you have a lowered libido as a result of hormonal changes, tiredness and the demands of new parenting. It is a time where you need support, encouragement and understanding from your husband as you recover and rediscover your sexual self.
Toning and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles improves sexual responsiveness
Fortunately, there are some effective and simple steps you can take to regain pelvic muscle tone and strength that will increase vaginal sensation for you and your partner. I recommend that you purchase a Natratone, this small pelvic floor-toning device is inserted into the vaginal opening and, by following simple step-by-step instructions, you do a series of regular pelvic floor exercises. As the muscles work out, there is improved blood flow to the pelvic region including the vagina, labia and clitoris, and you will find that over time you regain lost sensation, although your sexual response may differ (often positively) from how they were before giving birth.
Smart Balls are ideal for the busy woman
If you find it too difficult to put time aside to do active exercises, as is often the case with a baby or children, try the Smart Balls. These are weighted balls inserted into the vagina and worn as you go about your daily activities. Ideal for the busy woman. By increasing the amount of time and frequency that you wear the balls for, your pelvic floor muscles with tone and strengthen over time (used for a minimum of 6-12 weeks).
Your husband will feel the benefits of your taut, toned and terrific vagina although it is important for him to realise that your body has changed as a result of childbirth and he needs to celebrate and support the new you.